Hello, Kittens and Dawgs! Last week, I started sharing two of my regular Friday segments, Skywatch Friday and Celebrate the Small Things on Thursday as a way to make the content more enjoyable for all who stop by.
In my Skywatch Friday section today, I’m taking a look back to our December day trip to Bryson City and Dillsboro, North Carolina. These two towns are about 30-minutes apart. We had a lovely time strolling around Bryson City and shared some of those photos here and here.
We were in these mountain communities in the middle of the week and there were no worries of crowds or traffic. When we got to Dillsboro, we decided to swing by to see the left-behind movie scene props from Harrison Ford’s hit flick, The Fugitive.
I photographed this last in late fall 2013. The angle and exposure were not the best in those shots, so I was glad to have another chance for a do-over.
This time I zoomed in more for a better view and in the below picture if you click to enlarge you should be able to read Illinois Dept. of Correction on the side of the bus.
It was a splendid day for early December to be outdoors soaking up the sunshine even with the occasional wind gusts.
After we got done in Dillsboro, we stopped off to see the Balsam Mountain Inn and as the veil of night fell, we venture to Pigeon Forge on our way home to enjoy the lights.
Today, I’m Celebrating the Small Things include…
I know I’ve said it before but I’m celebrating living in a place I love and can have many do-overs on photo-ops or moments to just soak up the beautiful mountain atmosphere. I know there are some who visit may only have that once in a lifetime experience or perhaps an annual trip to this part of the country that we call home. I count us truly blessed to live here and do not take a moment of it for granted.
What are you celebrating?
See what others are celebrating this week and if you want to join the linky, then visit Lexa for details!
Tomorrow, I invite you to join me for some social media fun and your weekly dose of laughter with Friday Sillies.
Hello, Kittens & Dawgs! For the first time in a loooong time I can say, Thank God it’s Friday! Whoo-hoo! Yes, this is the first full week for DH to be at his new job. Now the weekends have a new meaning for me once again. Let’s get the show on the road with a few giggles. Let’s kick the weekend off with a bit of Redneck Christmas humor.
After DD#2 moved out, she told me about her best friend’s tradition of burning his Christmas tree. Up until that time I’d never heard of such a custom. I reckon some consider it to a reckneck thing, as it came up in my search. Enjoy!
Believe it or not, burning your Christmas tree isn’t a redneck thingy but actually has a spiritual origin, which you can read about it here. Also, you might wanna read The Night Before a Redneck Christmas just for laughs.
Next, I’m sharing with my weekly SWF contribution!
Last week, I shared a phenomenal Christmasy night shot of The Wheel at The Island in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. On the same day, I took that photo we were in Bryson City, North Carolina earlier and I captured a beautiful blue sky over the Swain County Heritage Museum.
Let’s continue the fun with Friendly Fill-Ins with Annie and Ellen. How does it work? Every Thursday four fun and easy blank statements are posted for us to borrow, complete, and share on our site. The point is to simply have fun linking, reading, and meeting others who enjoy this sort of thing.
Here’s my response to this week’s fill-ins:
1. My favorite Christmas Song(s) is/are just about everyone, so how can I name a single one, but I could do without hearing anything remotely by Miley Cyrus ever again.
2.My most meaningful Christmas ornament/decoration is naturally my Fontanini Nativity scene because it reminds us during the holiday season of our Savior’s lowly birth and the reason He came to this world.
3. My favourite holiday treat is nearly everything because I enjoy baking cookies and cakes or making homemade candies at Christmas. It’s hard to say one’s my favorite but if you force me to pick then I’d say my Chocolate Covered Cherries.
4. A holiday tradition in my house is to go see the lights around town and/or in the Smoky Mountain communities like Dillsboro, North Carolina. There’s something magical about seeing festive colorful lights.
Beginning next week, I am off from blogging until after January 1st. I’ve scheduled my regular posts but anything requiring special attention such as the Friendly Fill-ins segment I plan to not include. I’ll be back and may you have a joyful Christmas celebration! 😉
I’m joining Lexa in Celebrate The Small Things. Here’s my list of celebrations!
I’m celebrating…DH’s first week on his new job. Yay! It’s wonderful to resume a normal routine again and I see the delight on DH’s face each morning as he headed off to work. We’re not just celebrating but count our blessings every single day for God’s goodness. Another thing I’m celebrating is I finished that DIY project I mentioned in one of blog posts. I can’t say what it is at the moment because it’s actually a surprise for someone and I never know when that said person, may read my blog. However, I will share more after the new year.
What are you celebrating?
See what others are celebrating this week below and if you want to join the linky, then visit Lexa!
sharing another freebie with my readers. If you need Christmas design templates for your return shipping address, check out these 6-designs by Avery, here. I have used these in the past.
finding cool Christmas inspiration and freebies on Pinterest.
going to Dillsboro, NC tonight for their annual luminaries display. You can visit the streets of Dillsboro from our trip two Christmases ago here.
finally getting a chance to make home-made peppermint marshmallows for the first time in many years. This is a fun, easy, recipe that puts that extra festive mood in my cup of hot chocolate and the timing is perfect with our forecast lows this weekend dipping into the 20s. The recipe at the bottom. 😉
Life should be celebrated, even when it seems like you have no reason to celebrate. Just look around, I bet you’ll see something good! What are you celebrating?
It’s only marshmallow fluff at this stage. I’ll share photos after the marshmallow dries per the instructions. It looks pretty good like this, though, doesn’t it?
Home-made Peppermint Marshmallows
2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
NOTE: The original recipe calls for pure vanilla. I substitutedLorAnn Peppermint Oil in its place, but I got too much in my batch. I think next time I will add 1 teaspoon until desired pepperminty taste. UPDATE: I made second batch after making this suggestion and found that 1 teaspoon is still a bit too much. Next time, I will start with half a teaspoon and adding more, if needed.
1. Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment. Let stand 30 minutes.
2. Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small heavy saucepan; place over low heat, and stir until sugar has dissolved. Wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals.
3. Clip on a candy thermometer; raise heat to high. Cook syrup without stirring until it reaches 244° (firm-ball stage). Immediately remove pan from heat.
4. Use a mixer on low-speed to slowly and carefully pour syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase speed to high; beat until mixture is very thick and white and has almost tripled in volume, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla; beat to incorporate.
5. Generously dust an 8-by-12-inch glass baking pan with confectioners’ sugar. Pour marshmallow mixture into pan. Dust top with confectioners’ sugar; wet your hands, and pat it to smooth. Dust with confectioners’ sugar; let stand overnight, uncovered, to dry out. Turn out onto a board; cut marshmallows with a dry hot knife into 1 1/2-inch squares, and dust with more confectioners’ sugar.
I’ll be running late with my visits, but I will hop over at some point this weekend or early next week. I invite you to join me for Monday’s Music Moves Me for a month of rocking around the Christmas tree and a lot of fah-lah-lah. Thanks for visiting and get out there for a fototastic day!
Good morning, kittens & dawgs! Are you working on goals for the new year? It’s surprising in the past, I found that a number of people don’t like to do this. I, on-the-other-hand, have learned it’s a good thing to do even if I do not get everything done. I like holding myself accountable. Yesterday, I wrote One thing I want to accomplish in 2015 and from my responses it seems I struck a chord with many of you.
The weather surrounding Christmas was quite chilly, but in the days that followed our temperatures turned quite spring-like and although it was rather cloudy we ventured to the Bryson City. You may recall this is one of the mountain communities you can board the Smoky Mountain Railway and I took you there for a visit last year on WW.
As you may have figured out Bryson City is a little town in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Not far from town along Depot Street, just follow the train tracks, you’ll see a sign for Deep Creek Campground, which leads you to Deep Creek Road. This is a dead street that takes you to the edge of GSM and Deep Creek Trail Trailhead.
Gray skies hung overhead. A few light showers spattered the windshield and I was certain the clouds would give way on us once we ascended the path, but nothing materialized.
I suspected school kids and families off for the holidays would be out enjoying God’s beautiful world like us, but the trail was busier than expected on that Monday after Christmas, but we pressed on anyway. Geez, can’t we get a break? I know, I’m weird, but I’m quite comfortable in my weirdness. 😀
Deep Creek Trail is a 4-mile loop ranging from easy to moderate. The start of the trail was easy and wide enough to protect my personal space. lol We definitely want to go back for a longer hike. In fact, we didn’t go far this time. We went just beyond Tom Branch Falls waterfalls below (.2 miles from trailhead) before turning around to head to the car.
On our way back, I found my turtleneck and fleece hoodie was too much with temps in the mid to upper 50s. I began to glisten just a bit. Was it not winter? If so, you couldn’t prove it by me.
By the time we got back to Bryson City the mobbed streets was a sharp contrast from when we arrived. Good golly, Miss Molly! is all I could say. I don’t do crowds well, as you know, but we ventured among the crazies. Yes, people are crazy! They will climb all over you, instead of using good manners and judgment before trying to press between you and gnat.
We found a few new shops that we were dying to go inside, but that wasn’t going to happen. So, we vowed to return another time in the spring perhaps on a non-holiday weekday when we’re sure to miss a large gathering so that we may browse these little shops (and take a longer walk on Deep Creek Trail Trailhead) at our pace.
All in all, we had a wonderful time. We crossed the GSM passing through the small communities in the foothills on the Tennessee side on our way home. It was dark when we reached Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. They are beautifully decorated for Winter Festival (Nov. 12, 2014 – Jan. 25, 2015) and even though it was drizzling heavier than earlier in the day we still loved taking in the Christmasy lights.
Right now, I’m in the midst of a family crisis. Our oldest daughter, Brittany, is missing. We haven’t heard from her, since Christmas. She hasn’t reached out to her brother or sister, either. This is totally unlike her to go without a call or text. My other daughter filed a missing person’s report yesterday. Please pray, if she’s okay that she or someone she knows will see the FB posts and contact us soon with good news. Thanks so much!
There’s no featured photographer this week. However… just a reminder, each week I use random.org to pick a new photographer to share. I would like the opportunity to put your blog on display. To win a chance in the spotlight, then join the linky party below with your photographic wonder URL.
Thank you for making me apart of your day. Have a foto-tastic day!
Would you like to participate in my Happy Birthday Club? If so, then simply send your name, blog URL, and birthday (month and day or complete birthdate – whatever you are comfortable with) to: email@example.com and I’ll be sure to list you on my special birthday post for that month
The evening, I photographed Christmas in Dillsboro, NC we hopped over to the quaint Smoky Mountain community of Bryson City, North Carolina before dusk. While we walked around taking pictures, we bought coffee and cinnamon buns from Mountain Perks on Depot Street, which isn’t pictured but is left of the train across the street in the first picture. The coffee was good, but those home-made cinnamon buns were delicious!
In Bryson City, you can catch a ride on The Smoky Mountain Railway and you can also board in Dillsboro. A Christmasy train adds to the magic of the holidays. Don’t you just love it, the engine is the Polar Express?
It was such a cozy feeling visiting the Bryson City community during the festivities of the Christmas season. What small towns in your area give this sort of feeling?
Next week, I will share the last of my Christmasy pictures before I get back to everyday shots. That’s a snap for this week. It’s so nice to see & I hope you’ll decide to make it a repeat visit each week to share in my photo ops. Wanna make me or someone else happy? Then, leave a comment! I’ll be hopping over to see you soon!
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